Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008 Cherokee Park Manager/Constable King, Ineligible for Diversion, Pleas Guilty to Theft

In a surprising twist, Cherokee Park Manager/Constable Paul King pled guilty to a reduced charge of theft under $500 on Friday, November 21, in Hamblen County Criminal Court. He was ordered to pay $375 in restitution to Albert Walker, victim of the theft. He was also sentenced to 10 days in jail.

King and his boss, Cherokee Park Director Frank Parker, were both indicted for theft over $500 in May 2008 for taking $750 from Albert Walker in order to get Walker's car out of the sheriff's impound lot when both of them knew--but did not tell Walker--that there was no charge to get the car out.

In addition, Parker was charged with felony official misconduct because he used his official position as a county commissioner in order to get sheriff's department personnel to release Walker's car into his (Parker's) custody.

Frank Parker applied for and was granted pre-trial diversion on both charges. A little slap on the wrist, a little restitution, and Frank is back at Cherokee Park drawing that nice county paycheck and benefits.

On Page 5 of King's Initial Application for Pre-Trial, Diversion (above left), King stated that the theft charge was his first offense and that he had never previously been "detained...arrested...or summoned into court as a defendant...."
A TBI pre-trial diversion report (above right) gave King a pass and indicated that the TBI database did NOT have a record of any prior conviction or expungement for King.
So what happened? It would appear that someone knew about and came forward with additional information about King's prior record and expungement---information that for some reason wasn't in the TBI database. That additional information apparently de-railed King's diversion express.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008 Paul King's Request for Diversion on Theft Charges (Part II)

Constable and Cherokee Park Manager Paul King's Request for Diversion in connection with charges of theft will be heard next week in Hamblen County Criminal Court.
The page (near right) is part of King's initial application for diversion.
On this page, King explains how he and his boss (Cherokee Park Director Frank Parker) took $750 from Albert Walker by leading Walker to believe that the $750 being paid to King and Parker was an impound fee that was to be paid to the Hamblen County Sheriff.
As King and Parker knew at the time, there was no impound charge by the Sheriff--which is why King adds that he knew all along that what he and Frank Parker were doing was wrong.
The page (far right) is one of the letters of commendation included with King's request for diversion. The letter is from long-time and current Hamblen County School Board member Roger Greene.

To see King's 4-page Request for Diversion with a fuller explanation and additional links, click here.

November 16, 2008 Constable/Cherokee Park Manager Paul King's Diversion Hearing on Theft Charges Postponed To Next Week (Part I)

Paul King, Hamblen County Constable and Cherokee Park Manager, will have to wait until next week before his request for pre-trial diversion (above) is presented to Judge John Dugger. [Click on each image to read. The 4-page document will be in correct sequence for most browsers]

King and his boss---Cherokee Park Director, former deputy Sheriff and former Hamblen County Commissioner Frank Parker---were indicted in May 2008 for felony theft over $500.

The pair--both of whom are county employees, both of whom had law enforcement connections at the time of the theft, and both of whom were elected officials at the time of the theft--took $750 from Albert Walker to get Walker's car out of the Hamblen County Sheriff's impound lot.

Both Parker and King knew that there was no charge at all to get Walker's car out of impound, but both admit that they did not let Walker know that his car could be retrieved for nothing. After taking the $750 from Walker, Parker and King were charged with theft by deception.
Parker was also charged with felony misconduct for using his position as a county commissioner to get the car out of the impound lot.

Parker resigned his position as a county commissioner in June 2008 and immediately applied for pre-trial diversion. District Attorney Berkeley Bell recommended diversion for Parker, and Parker's diversion was signed by Judge John Dugger in early July 2008.

Apparently, County Mayor David Purkey, the County Commission, and the County Ethics Committee aren't saying much of anything regarding Parker and Cherokee Park. It's not clear whether Parker has resumed the title of "Director" and is allowed to handle money again. It's also not clear whether Parker is again drawing approximately $38,000 in salary plus full benefits or whether he continued to draw his full salary all along. Parker is still listed as Cherokee Park Director on the Hamblen County government website.

King, Parker's Co-Defendant, applied for diversion in August 2008. His diversion was scheduled to be heard this past Friday, November 14. During Friday's 1:00 session of court, however, Judge Dugger announced that King's attorney was unable to attend the hearing and that the diversion would be presented next week. King apparently continues to be employed by the county as Manager of Cherokee Park.
In addition to King's request for pre-trial diversion (shown above), a page from King's initial application for diversion and one of King's letters of commendation--from current and long-time Hamblen County School Board member Roger Greene--can be seen here.

In a nutshell, pre-trial diversion means that there is no trial. The defendant tells his version of what happened, explains that he is sorry and that this was a one-time thing, and is typically required to make restitution. The District Attorney can approve the request or reject it for any number of reasons. If the diversion is granted, the defendant is allowed to go free with the charges wiped off completely if the Defendant is not charged with anything else during the brief probationary period.

Frank Parker's request for pre-trial diversion will be posted soon. It is a particularly interesting document in which Parker accepts "criminal responsibility" for his actions and then turns right around and blames the Victim for "pestering" Parker into committing theft. Parker's "he pestered me into it" sounds a lot like comedian Flip Wilson's old "the Devil made me do it" tag line from the 1970s.

More to come....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008 Veterans Day

In honor and in remembrance of all who have served the United States of America in the armed forces at home and abroad...
In honor of all who currently serve the United States of America in the armed forces at home and abroad...
In remembrance of all who, in service to the United States of America, gave the last full measure of devotion...